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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Valentine

Unnecessary Roughness

“Confidence, courage and (a) determined spirit are vital for surviving hard times.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita

Most of you know that I am a football fan. I don’t rearrange my life around it, but I do enjoy watching the game. The intricate details of the drawn-up and executed plays remind me of dance choreography. Every position on the field has its importance whether they have the ball or not. The touchdown celebration routines are fun to watch too! Most of the calls in football make perfect sense to me but the one I think is ironic is Unnecessary Roughness. In a game that is probably only second to rugby in its violence, there is the possibility of being too rough.

For some of us who have lived lives that include multiple character-building opportunities, we may feel like someone needs to throw a flag on our behalf. Of course, no one is coming to stop the play so after a while you find yourself becoming good at being resilient. The best definition of resilient that I have read is being capable of withstanding shock without permanent deformation or rupture. This really blesses me because it helps me envision bouncing back after disruptive experiences.

  • Raising three men – Bounce back

  • Going through a divorce – Bounce back

  • Visitation, child support and the aggravation that goes along with it – Bounce back

If someone can convince you when these challenging times start that you are going to be stronger afterwards, you may be encouraged by that but it rings pretty hollow when you are beginning the adventure. The secret is to not get overwhelmed. A coworker who had completed Alcoholics Anonymous once told me “inch by inch, life’s a cinch, yard by yard, life gets hard”.

So how do you take life by inches?:

Make decisions about the things you control. What are your family standards? What will you tolerate? What is non-negotiable? Set the guidelines and stand by them. Every rule made may be an opportunity to develop a better rule. Choose the path that grants the best results for your family.

Assess the character building opportunities in your life. Some things you just have to walk away from…and be comfortable with walking away. Being overwhelmed will disrupt your good judgment. Take decisions in small bites. You will find that you will build a solid, larger problem solution with all of the smaller decision victories.

Retain the option to change your mind, but maintain your credibility and be prepared to explain your decisions. My decisions concerning my sons are all defendable, but some may question my motivation. For example, all three of my sons were expected to graduate high school with at least a 4.0 GPA. This was an expectation that they were so capable of, even though they were enrolled in the most rigorous course work available at their school. I stayed in tune with their grades during the semester, but also stayed up with them when they studied for exams, asked if I could help get supplemental study aids or if they needed to participate in a study group. I found that adding lots of encouragement and support also helps. It doesn’t take much for me to turn into a cheerleader (encourager) and when it comes to children…exuberant is probably the best description.

The motivation was to give my guys experience thriving in challenging conditions. I call it the Addiction of Accomplishment. This will be the topic of one of our January posts. Stay tuned.


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